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It's no surprise to see winners when the market performs as well as it did today. As if the big gains in the first three months weren't enough, stocks soared today, as fears of economic trouble seem to be fading and investors on the sidelines get antsy about getting into the rising market. Small caps and emerging-market stocks outperformed the broader U.S. market as investors seemed more willing to take on risk. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) still gained, although its 52-point rise to 13,264 was muted compared with bigger gains in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes.
Let's take a look at some of the best-performing Dow stocks today.
Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) , up 1.4%
Whenever a new quarter starts, attention turns to Alcoa. The company is traditionally the first major company to report results, and with all eyes on economic activity in the U.S., Europe, China, and elsewhere around the world, Alcoa will provide an interesting first read on current conditions.
More broadly, analysts expect earnings growth across all S&P 500 companies to slow down substantially in the first quarter, with just a 1% rise over the year-ago period. As for Alcoa, expectations are even worse, as estimates project a second straight quarterly loss for the aluminum maker. A surprise to the upside would be nice, but fundamentals in the industry are still challenging.
Boeing (NYSE: BA ) , up 1.1%
Aerospace company Boeing is another economically sensitive stock, but it's been doing well lately. Today, the company announced that an Angolan airline ordered three 777 aircraft, adding to the massive order activity that Boeing has generated so far this year.
Still, the big question is whether Boeing's commercial activity can outweigh any cutbacks on the military side of its business. With the U.S. and other governments looking to cut costs, budgets are tight and could get much tighter if the economy doesn't rebound sharply and quickly.
Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) , up 0.9%
As a giant in the semiconductor industry, Intel has had a lot of things look up lately. The company still dominates PC infrastructure, and it's also starting to make inroads into mobile devices.
But reports that Samsung hired more employees away from Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD ) should warn Intel that it has a new rival. Having kept AMD's market share relatively low, Intel will have to fight harder in the mobile arena, where it has no current competitive advantage and is playing catch-up.
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